A Vision of Living Beings
1On July 31#1:1a Hebrew On the fifth day of the fourth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. A number of dates in Ezekiel can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Babylonian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. This event occurred on July 31, 593 b.c. of my thirtieth year,#1:1b Or in the thirtieth year. while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. 2This happened during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity. 3(The Lord gave this message to Ezekiel son of Buzi, a priest, beside the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians,#1:3 Or Chaldeans. and he felt the hand of the Lord take hold of him.)
4As I looked, I saw a great storm coming from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber.#1:4 Or like burnished metal; also in 1:27. 5From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, 6except that each had four faces and four wings. 7Their legs were straight, and their feet had hooves like those of a calf and shone like burnished bronze. 8Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. 9The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
10Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. 11Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. 12They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
13The living beings looked like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and lightning seemed to flash back and forth among them. 14And the living beings darted to and fro like flashes of lightning.
15As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each. 16The wheels sparkled as if made of beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. 17The beings could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. 18The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around.
19When the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. When they flew upward, the wheels went up, too. 20The spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. So wherever the spirit went, the wheels and the living beings also went. 21When the beings moved, the wheels moved. When the beings stopped, the wheels stopped. When the beings flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.
22Spread out above them was a surface like the sky, glittering like crystal. 23Beneath this surface the wings of each living being stretched out to touch the others’ wings, and each had two wings covering its body. 24As they flew, their wings sounded to me like waves crashing against the shore or like the voice of the Almighty#1:24 Hebrew Shaddai. or like the shouting of a mighty army. When they stopped, they let down their wings. 25As they stood with wings lowered, a voice spoke from beyond the crystal surface above them.
26Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. 27From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.